It’s about time I finally got another 360 Panorama processed and uploaded. These photos are really special because they give you an immersive experience from all directions: up, down, and all around at very high resolution. One of these days, probably while we are in New Zealand, I will upload the dozens of other 360 shots taken since the beginning of the trip. Usually I take at least two 360s at most islands we visit (weather and time permitting). The issues holding me back have been the amount of time it takes to process these huge photos (often 2-3 hours), and the quality of Internet connectivity – which makes it very difficult to upload the minimum of 5-8 megabytes of each resulting photo file.
This photo was taken during the bike tour around Bora Bora. We were on the side of the road on a hill at the northernmost corner on a bay across from the most beautiful mountaintop. If you zoom in, you can see the beautiful lagoon waters to the north. You can also see the the nearby trees on the side of the road, our electric bikes, and the road disappearing over the hill and below us. Use the “+” and “-” zoom buttons, or “SHIFT” and “CTRL” keys on your keyboard, to zoom. I highly recommend clicking on the full screen mode to get the maximum effect.
To take these panoramas, I take 6 portrait photos at 60 degree intervals on a special tripod mount (made by Nodal Ninja) using a fisheye lens. The photos are taken in RAW mode using a manual setting at a slightly underexposed setting for the conditions. After the initial circle of shots I take a straight up (sky) shot, then a straight down (ground) shot. I use a software tool called SilkyPix to remove chromatic abberation from the fisheye lens and to adjust the exposure. This results in 45 megabyte TIF files. Then I use PTGui Pro to stitch the photos into a seamless (hopefully) 360 spherical projection photo converted into a JPG format. After further compression, I get the file down to about 5-8 megabytes.
The photos are uploaded to 360Cities.net which provides a way to geotag the photo, add information about the photo, hosting of the file, and tools for viewing the photos. They also have a layer in Google Earth which allows people anywhere in the world to see your panorama when they turn on the “360Cities” layer found under the “Gallery” layer folder.